Family-centred care (FCC) is considered essential in neonatal nursing. Consequently parents of premature infants are increasingly expected to participate in the care of their infant. Research shows how healthcare professionals and families are uncertain as how to manage their roles in daily practice. The purpose of this study is to investigate the significance of the parental role in FCC in a Danish context.

Through a qualitative content analysis of four pamphlets and one article, the study illustrates how parents of premature infants are offered five different roles: 1) cooperating parents 2) natural caregivers, 3) knowledge-seeking parents, 4) thoughtful parents and 5) «early discharge programme»-friendly parents.

Several elements of FCC are reflected in the writings. The material can thereby provide a clarifying description of the parental role.

Written information that considers health literacy, critically analyses underlying discourses, involves families and includes evaluation is suggested as a way to further improve the implementation of FCC.

Keywords: family-centred care, neonatal nursing, parental roles, pediatric care and qualitative content analysis